MORAGA, Calif. - UC Davis junior Kaylin Squyres posted 11 kills and a .333 hitting average while senior libero Megan Lancaster picked up a match-high 18 digs, but Saint Mary's served up a total of eight aces in dispatching its guests in a four-set, 25-20, 15-25, 25-13, 25-14 women's volleyball victory at McKeon Pavilion Wednesday evening.
The Aggies slip to 0-4 for the year. The Gaels even their record to 2-2.
Squyres committed just one hitting error in 30 swings, adding 11 digs on the defensive end. Senior Katie Quinn added eight kills and a .467 success rate. However, SMC compiled a .307 clip behind the hitting of seniors Natalie Loos (14-1-22) and Mileva Popovic (.409). Seven of the eight service aces came in the decisive third and fourth sets.
Saint Mary's dominated on the attack during the first set, hitting .467 mostly behind the six kills of senior outside hitter Samantha Tinsley. She scored one on an offspeed shot that helped the Gaels craft a 14-9 lead, but UC Davis soon rebounded. Valerie Brain knocked down a pair of kills and junior middle blocker Jillian Johnson served up an ace to close the gap to 15-14. However, the Aggies never equalized, slipping behind to a 19-15 edge after Natalie Loos' tool. Tinsley's sixth kill and a Dalas Dodd ace closed out the five-point victory.
The Aggies stormed back with a strong second set. Squyres served two aces and forced an errant pass on a third during a 7-2 start. UC Davis took its first 10-point lead on a Squyres kill at 17-7, then Allie Wegener's blast from the back row made it 19-9 four serves later. SMC never managed to close to less than eight points the rest of the way, struggling to a .057 average. The Aggies improved to a .267 clip in the second frame in tying the match at 1-1.
The service line became the decisive factor down the stretch, with SMC posted three aces in the third and four more in the fourth. Popovic had two such serves in a run of four answered that boosted the Gaels to a 20-9 edge late in the third set, effectively putting the set out of reach. She had served the Aggies tough to start that frame, helping her team establish a 6-1 start.
In the fourth, Loos hit back-to-back kills amidst a 7-1 Gael stretch that kickstarted a 10-4 lead. Once again, the SMC serving kept the Aggies out of system the rest of the way. Dodd and Tinsley each combined to stretch a 13-10 edge to 23-13. Alexis Salmons knocked down a stray down ball for match point, then Mary Hernandez coaxed another Aggie error for the win.
Brain chipped in 6-for-22 hitting with a pair of block assists for UC Davis.
The Aggies return home to host San Jose State and Portland in a round-robin series at the Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday.